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Ulver - Silence Teaches You How to Sing CD (album) cover

SILENCE TEACHES YOU HOW TO SING

Ulver

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.32 | 24 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Experimental Electronic teaches Garm how to sing.

Fans are often anxious to see their favourite group develop, releasing albums that sound nothing like each other. However, at times their loved ones go to far in their experiment and this is when the opinions start to differ dramatically. Controversy surrounding the release of Silence Teaches You How to Sing was the reason for choosing this album to review.

The album consists of only one track clocking at over 24 minutes and this is, technically speaking, the longest track in Ulver's career, as A Song of Liberty from Themes From William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which was over 26 minutes in length but most of which was pure silence. Be warned though, as this isn't exactly your average Progrock epic - minimalistic, bizarre and unconventional - those are some of the words to describe this monster. Like I have mentioned before, this album shows the artist's disdain towards normal, usual song structure and also Ulver's departure from their earlier efforts. By the time of their respective release, Themes... and Perdition City showed the group at its most experimental sound. However, this EP puts all those previous efforts to shame when it comes to experimentation.

Ulver's official website classifies this album as "Glitch/improv." I am not exactly what one would call an Electronic music guru, so I made a little research to find out what Glitch music is all about. Strangely, the description fits my entire notion of modern Electronic music: influenced by Ambient and Industrial, including scratching and usage of damaged CDs. If the last sentence scares you, then I am afraid this is not for you - the composition of the CD is eccentric and chaotic. The track is mostly based on disturbing sounds and effects, used sparingly in order to create a dark atmosphere. The songwriting doesn't hurry anywhere and the whole composition moves slowly. Fortunately for us all, about 6-7 parts including instruments at sometimes even Garm's voice are thrown into the track. There are parts with dark, melancholic piano, followed by an uplifting part with flutes, parts with Garm singing either creating an eerie vibe or, on the countrary, making an amusing vocal performance which is his queerest in career, as well as few parts that sound like a logical continuation to Perdition City. The parts themselves repeat a few times before the theme is changed and the track continues its eccentric musical journey taking the listener with it. The transition between the parts is not achieved well and I suspect that this was exactly the point. The songwriting, supposedly improvised, lacks complexity and is more minimalistic than anything. If there hadn't been any of the more accessible parts, I'm afraid the album would have seemed completely unmusical and pointless even to the most open-minded listener.

This is, in my opinion, Ulver's second best EP after A Quick Fix of Melancholy and easily the most exciting of the two Silence EPs. I would not suggest anyone starting his introduction with this release as it is as unaccessible as music gets and does not represent the grouo well enough(having read this sentence, Ulver's biggest fans will probably ask me: "and what does?" I know, I know...). However, those of you who are already keen on this group's music, do not make a mistake by ignoring this record! Unfortunately, this album has been sold out a long time ago and now it is easier to find it in the shape of the Teachings in Silence compilation, which also includes the fellow EP Silencing the Singing. All the music from both EPs are featured on the compilation in their entirety, so do not worry: by buying the compilation you are not missing out on a single second of music!

Trickster F. | 4/5 |

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